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Donald Trump’s A+/C+ presidency

A clip of President Donald Trump's Thursday press conference is played on "Fox And Friends." (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Trump sat down with "Fox and Friends" on Tuesday morning to preview his address tonight to a joint session of Congress. Using Genius, I annotated it. You can too! Sign up for Genius and annotate alongside me! To see an annotation, click or tap the highlighted part of the transcript.

DOOCY:  Mr. President, thank you very much for the invitation.

TRUMP:  Thank you.

DOOCY:   And by the way, thank you very much for the shout-out you gave at your press conference about 10 days ago.

TRUMP:  That's true, I did.  And you treated me -- you have treated me very fairly and I appreciate it.  I like your (INAUDIBLE)...

DOOCY:  Did you take much heat for that from the other networks?

TRUMP:  No, not really.  I think they know it's true.  You know, they know what's fair and not.  But you have treated me very fairly.  And I've been a friend of your show for a long time.

Remember those call-ins, right (INAUDIBLE)?

DOOCY:  For years.

TRUMP:  Maybe without those call-ins, somebody else is sitting here.

AINSLEY EARHARDT, HOST:  Let's talk about your speech.  You're addressing Congress tonight.  You have talked about spending $54 billion in additional money for our military.

Senator John McCain has said that is not enough.

What's your reaction?

TRUMP:  Well, we're going to spend a lot more money on military.  We really have to.  We have no choice.  And a lot of people think it's a tremendous amount of money.  It could be, actually, $30 million, $30 billion more than that.  We're going to upgrade our military very substantially.

Remember this, I also am going to get involved in negotiating.  we have many planes and boats and ships and everything that we are spending too much money individually on.

We're going to get involved in negotiating.  We're going to be able to get, I think, a lot more product for a buck and I'm going to be very, very serious about it.

We saved $700 million plus on an F-35 after I got involved.  And I have to tell you, Lockheed was terrific.

But we saved a lot of money on airplanes and that number is going to increase very substantially as we keep going, We will be having the greatest military that we ever had by the time I finish.

BRIAN KILMEADE:  Mr. President, you'll have the biggest -- if tradition means anything, and I know everything is a little bit different these days...

TRUMP:  Right.

BRIAN KILMEADE, HOST:  -- you'll have the biggest audience for a State of the Union like address this year, bigger than any other year.

Having said that, how do you plan on capturing that opportunity for yourself and for your administration?

TRUMP:  You know, Brian, all I can do is speak from the heart and say what I want to do.  We have a really terrific, I believe, health care plan coming out.  We have to understand, ObamaCare has been a disaster.  It's way out of control, it doesn't work.

We're coming out with a health care plan that I think will be terrific.  It will be very inclusive and I think it's going to do, really, what people are wanting it to do.

But I'll be talking about that.  I'll be talking about the military.  I'll be talking about the border.  And remember this, on the border and throughout our country, we're getting the bad ones out, the bad people -- gang members, drug lords, in some cases, murderers...

KILMEADE:   Has that not been communicated...

TRUMP:  We're getting them out.

KILMEADE:  -- do you think that that has not been communicated effectively?

TRUMP:  I don't think so.  No, I don't think it's been -- maybe it's my fault.  But, you know, when they show people being taken out, these are people that are -- we're looking at the bad ones.  And I said that from day one.  I said from the day I'm president, we're getting rid of the bad ones.  And a lot of people understand it.

I can tell you, the communities where we're removing people that are really trouble and really frightening to a lot of the people that live there...

DOOCY:   Right.

TRUMP:  -- those communities are very, very happy.

DOOCY:  Sure.  Mr. President, you're going to spend $54 billion, at least, more on the military.  And the people who -- in our audience like that -- love this and you've said you were going to do that all along.  You're going to make big spending cuts at the EPA...

TRUMP:  Right.

DOOCY:  And State Department.

Where does the money come from?

TRUMP:  Well, the E...

DOOCY:  Because it doesn't seem -- if you cut all the money from EPA and all the money from State, that's about $50 billion.

TRUMP:  Well, I think the money is going to come from a revved up economy.  I mean you look at the kind of numbers we're doing, we were probably GDP of a little more than 1 percent and if I can get that up to 3 or maybe more, we have a whole different ball game.  It's a whole different ball game.

And that's what we're looking to do.

DOOCY:  But to get the economy going, you've got to get the Affordable Care Ac t...

TRUMP:  Right.

DOOCY:  -- replaced and repealed.

TRUMP:  Right.

DOOCY:  And then you've got to do something about taxes and how close are we to either of those?

TRUMP:  Right.  We're going to be doing things having to do with other countries, because we're treated very, very unfairly.  We're going to be doing cuts on so many different things.

We're also going to be -- when we help other countries, when we help them, even militarily, we're going to ask for a form of reimbursement, which right now -- I mean we have countries where we're taking care of their military, we're not being reimbursed and they're wealthy countries.

We have a lot of things happening.

We're going to get those numbers way up and we're going to take care of -- and we're going to have a lot of great friends, but we're going to get the numbers way up and we're going to get jobs back in our country.  You see what I've done.  Ford has announced, General Motors, Fiat has announced.  They're all building big plants.  They're all coming back into the United States.

They were fleeing.  They were fleeing our country.  And you mentioned EPA.  We have, right now -- I call it the veins of the country.  We have, right now hundreds and hundreds of massive deals that are tied up with environmental protection.  When they are -- Scott Pruitt, who is terrific.  Just got approved. 

But when he gets going, those projects are going to be freed up and they're going to be sailing.  And you're talking about thousands -- and millions, actually, of jobs.

Also, look at the Keystone Pipeline.  Look at the...

DOOCY:   It's all connected.

TRUMP:  It's all -- it's all together.  We're going to have jobs.  We're going to have a better economy.  But we're going to have jobs again for our people.  They don't have the jobs.

EARHARDT:  You ran on jobs.  You ran on draining the swamp.

TRUMP:  Yes.

EARHARDT:  You ran on repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

When do you start to put pressure on Congress, the swamp, to get something done, to repeal and to replace?

TRUMP:  Well, I think that Paul Ryan and his whole group have been terrific.  I just left Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.  And, you know, Paul is working very hard.

You know, health care is a very complex subject.  If you do this, it affects nine different things.  If you do that, it affects 15 different things.

I think we have a great plan and I think Congress is absolutely taking a lot of blame but it's not their fault.  And don't forget, I've only been here for like four weeks.


TRUMP:  Somebody said he hasn't done health care.  They've been working on health care for 30 years.

DOOCYE:   Right.

TRUMP:  I've only been here for -- what is this, my fifth week?

And we're set to propose a plan and I'll be talking about it, as you know, tonight.  And -- but we're all set to do a plan.  And I think it's going to be something that's going to be really respected

And you take a look at what's going on with the stock market.  Trillions of dollars of value have been created since I won the election -- I mean, trillions. .

TRUMP:  No, I mean the stock market is very enthused and that's jobs.

KILMEADE:  But I just have to bring back two things in your cabinet.

TRUMP:  Right.

KILMEADE:  You have an OMB director, finally.  He says you have to take an ax to entitlements.  Your Treasury secretary says we're not touching it.

Who's right?

TRUMP:  Well, I'll tell you what who's right.  If the economy sails, then I'm right, because I said I'm not touching Social Security.

KILMEADE:  So your OMB is wrong?

TRUMP:  I'm not saying anybody is wrong.  I'm just saying this.  If we -- and I think this is what's going to happen, Brian.  I think our country is going to sail.

DOOCY:  Mr. President, you announced via Twitter the other day you're not going to go to the White House Correspondents Dinner.

How come?

TRUMP:  Well, I am not a hypocrite.  And I haven't been treated properly.  And that's OK, which is fine.  You know, let...

DOOCY:  Well, some...

TRUMP:  -- everybody treat me...

DOOCY:  -- some of the left say you just can't take a joke.

TRUMP:  Maybe we'll have a small -- oh, no.

Do they say that?


TRUMP:  Well, I've taken it.

You know, one of the great misconceptions, when President Obama was up -- was -- now, a long time ago, five years ago or whatever, I loved that evening.  I had the greatest time...

DOOCY:   You were there.

TRUMP:  I was there.

KILMEADE:   You were there -- you were there target of the hit.

TRUMP:  I was the target.

DOOCY:   You were the pinata.

TRUMP:  And can I be honest?

I had the greatest time.  Now, I can't act like I'm thrilled because they're telling jokes.  I mean he was telling jokes I'm going to change (INAUDIBLE) the White House, the Trump House and other things.

And he was very -- I thought he did a good job.  And he was very respectful and it was fun.  And I enjoyed it.  And I left and I told the press, they were all said, did you have a good time?

And I said it was fantastic.

The next day I read Donald Trump felt terrible about the evening.  I loved the evening.  I had a great time.

KILMEADE:  You said before, I can take hits when it's justified.

TRUMP:  Correct.

KILMEADE:   Right.

TRUMP:  One hundred percent.

KILMEADE:  Can you give me an example of a time when someone was critical of you and you thought to yourself, I deserved that hit, I deserved that column, I deserved...

TRUMP:  No, probably I could never do that.


KILMEADE:   But do you...


TRUMP:  -- give you any idea.



KILMEADE:   No, but you...


KILMEADE:   Do you ever think you said, wow, I kind of screwed that up, I kind of deserved that hit?

TRUMP:  Sure.  And, you know what, honestly, if I do that, if that does happen and if I take a hit, I won't give you any additional ammunition, but over the years you make a mistake...

DOOCY:   Sure.

TRUMP:  -- I fully understand when they hit you.

But when they make stories up, when they create sources -- because I believe that sometimes they don't have sources, you know, the sources don't exist, and sometimes they do exist.  I'm not saying all sources, but I believe that a lot of the sources are made up, a lot of the stories are made up.  I believe a lot of the stories are pure fiction, they just pull it out of air. I just thought, in light of the fact of fake news and all of the other things were talking about now – I thought it would be inappropriate

DOOCY: Too cozy?

TRUMP: No, not to cozy. I think that- look.  I have great respect for the press. I have great respect for reporters and the whole profession.  Now, with all of that being said, I just thought it would be better if I didn't do the dinner.  That doesn't mean I'm not going to do it next year...

KILMEADE:   Got you.

TRUMP:  -- but I just thought it would be better if I...

DOOCY:   Sure.

TRUMP:  -- didn't do this.

EARHARDT:  Mr. President, the Oscar Awards, Jimmy Kimmel, he was Tweeting -- he was saying some crude comments.  He Tweeted that -- he insinuated, at least, that you were a racist.

What's your response?

TRUMP:  Well, look, you know, it just seems the other side, whenever they are losing badly, they always pull out the race card.  And I've watched it for years.  I've watched it against Ronald Reagan.  I've watched it against so many other people.  And they always like pulling out the race card.

The fact is, I did pretty well, much better than past people in the Republican Party in the recent election, having to do with Hispanics, having to do with African-Americans.  I did pretty well or I wouldn't be sitting here.

DOOCY:   Sure.

TRUMP:  I mean if I didn't get numbers that were at least as good or better, I wouldn't be sitting here.

KILMEADE:   But you don't take it personally?

TRUMP:  I can't because I consider it a very serious violation when they say it and I have to write it off as being purely politics.

DOOCY:   A big story here in Washington, DC that Sean Spicer asked his communications team, OK, come on in everybody, put your phone right over there.  We have a leaker here.  We're going to have the White House lawyer look at your phones.

How intent on -- are you on finding who the leaker or leakers are in your administration, not just your communications team...

TRUMP:  Right.

DOOCY:  -- but over at the State Department, maybe the intel community, everywhere?

TRUMP:  Well, first of all, Sean Spicer is a fine human being.  He's a fine person.  I would have done it differently.  I would have gone one-on-one with different people and we don't have a major leak process here.  We have a major leak process in government.

But I would have handled it differently than Sean.  But Sean handles it his way and I'm OK with it.

Yeah, you don't want to have leaks.

DOOCY:   Did they figure out who the leaker was?

TRUMP:  We have sort of ideas.  But don't forget, we have people from other campaigns, we have people from other governments.  We've got a lot of people here.

KILMEADE:   Right.

KILMEADE:   So you wish he didn't  do it that way?

TRUMP:  I would have done it differently.

EARHARDT:  How would you have done it?

TRUMP:  I would have brought one-on-one.  I would have had one-on-one sessions with different people...

EARHARDT:  And said let me see your phone?

TRUMP:  I might have done that.  I mean, you know, there are things you can do that are a hell of a lot worse than that, I'll be honest with you.


TRUMP:  But I think I would have done it differently.

But, you know, he's done a very good job.  And that's the way he chose to do it.

KILMEADE:   Let's talk about you Tweeting, if we could.  You've attacked, recently, McCain, the FBI, Democrats. Is there a method to the attacks or is it just venting?

TRUMP:  No method, really.  It's just -- it's not venting either.  But, you know, I felt badly when a young man dies and John McCain said that was a failed mission.  According to General Mattis, it was a very successful mission.  They get a lot of information, a lot of -- a lot of different things that they really wanted to get.  And I thought it was inappropriate and I thought it was inappropriate that he goes to foreign soil and he criticizes our government.  I just think that's just inappropriate. And, you know, people have to be careful with that. 

But it does allow me to go around dishonest media.  I don't have to go around you folks.  I don't have to go around a lot of the media.

But I do have to go around some media.  And it does allow me to do that, because the following is so large, between Twitter and Facebook and all of the different things.  I have so many millions of people, it allows me to give a message without necessarily having to go through people where I'm giving them a message and they're putting it down differently from what I mean.  I do. 

EARHARDT:  A lot of people like it.  They say you're tough.  They're glad you're going after people when they attack you.

But you have people on both sides of the aisle...

TRUMP:  Yes, you do.

EARHARDT:  -- that are saying you're going after your enemies on Twitter.  They want you to stop it. Will you?

TRUMP:  Well, most of the people that want me to stop it are the enemies, I'll be honest with you.  The enemies would like me to stop it.

I -- if I felt the media were honest, all of it, or most of it, I wouldn't do it.  But it is a modern-day form of communication, especially when you have, you know, tens of millions of people like I have.  

DOOCY:  Mr. President, you mentioned John McCain mentioning that the young man who died, the Navy SEAL...

TRUMP:  Yes.

DOOCY:  -- who died in that mission...

TRUMP:  Yes.

DOOCY:  -- his father has said that he didn't want to talk to you. Your reaction to that?

TRUMP:  Well, this was a mission that was started before I got here.  This was something that was, you know, just -- they wanted to do.  And they came to see me and they explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected.  My generals are the most respected that we've had in many decades, I would -- I believe. And they lost Ryan.  And I was at the airport when the casket came in, the body came in.

DOOCY:   In Dover.

TRUMP:  And it was a very sad, with the family.  And it's a great family, incredible wife and children.  I met most of the family.

And I can understand people saying that.  I'd feel -- you know, I'd feel what's worse?

There's nothing worse.

DOOCY:   Yes.

TRUMP:  There's nothing worse.

But again, this was something that they were looking at for a long time doing.  And according to General Mattis, it was a very successful mission.  They got tremendous amounts of information. 

KILMEADE:   All right, can we talk about President Obama?

You said you personally get along with him.  You guys were going at each other for three, four, maybe eight years.  It turns out his organization seems to be doing a lot of the organizing for some of the protests that a lot of these Republicans are seeing around the country and against you.

TRUMP:  Right.

KILMEADE:  Do you believe President Obama is behind it?

And if he is, is that a violation of the -- the so-called unsaid president's code?

TRUMP:  No, I think he is behind it.  I also think it's politics.  That's the way it is.  And look, I have a very thick skin.

KILMEADE:   But Bush was never -- Bush wasn't going after Clinton.  And Clinton wasn't going after Bush.

TRUMP:  Well, you never know what's exactly happening behind the scenes.  You know, you're probably right or possibly right.  But you never know.

No, I think that President Obama is behind it, because his people are certainly behind it.  And some of the leaks possibly come from that group, you know, some of the leaks, which are really very serious leaks, because they're very bad...

KILMEADE:   Right.

TRUMP:  -- in terms of national security.

But I also understand that's politics.  And in terms of him being behind things, that's politics.  And it will probably continue.

KILMEADE:   Does he just -- does that disappoint you?

This -- don't you think that that goes beyond what we usually do in this country?

TRUMP:  I don't want to use the word disappoint.  I'm not really surprised because I understand the way the world works.  It's politics.  I mean I'm changing things that he's wanted to do.  I mean we're much tougher in terms of getting the bad guys out.

You know, people don't realize, he deported a lot of people, but we're focused on the bad people.  But we're focused on the bad people.

KILMEADE:   Right.

TRUMP:  We're focused on the drug lords and the gang members.  We're focused on a very, very bad group that are in this country that we're getting out rapidly.  He was much less focused on that.

KILMEADE:   Can we talk about what Nancy Pelosi said yesterday?

Here we are on the cusp of your first major speech and the question was, what he has done?

He's -- basically, he's done nothing.  He says he's put -- it said he put Wall Street first, he made America sick and he's still -- he instilled fear in immigrants. Those are your accomplishments.

What's your response to her?

TRUMP:  Well, I've been watching Nancy's tape.  And so I think she's incompetent, actually.  You know, if you look at what's going on with the Democrats and the party, it's getting smaller and smaller.

You know, in a certain way, I hate to see it, because I like a two party system and we're soon going to have a one party system.  I actually think a two party system is healthy and good.

But she's done a terrible job. 

KILMEADE:  So she's wrong?

TRUMP:  Well, I don't think she's a good spokesman.  She's certainly wrong.

There are those that say I've done more than anybody in 100 days.  And you look just at the money I've saved.  I've saved billions and billions of dollars.  I brought Ford back from Mexico.  Ford was going with a massive plant.  I brought Fiat in.  I'm bringing in all these incredible countries.  You've been reading about them on a daily basis.  They're all pouring back into our country.

I mean there are those that are saying that I've done just about more than anybody.

Now, when you add our health care that's going to be coming out soon and will be a really good health care as opposed to ObamaCare, which is a total mess, if you add the tax cuts that were going to be doing as soon as we finish health care. That will come out very soon, the big tax cuts for business and for people, for middle class, tremendous cuts, and for everybody.

I think that, you know, I think I've done just about more than anybody in the first four weeks. 

DOOCY: What's the one thing about this job which you've thought about for a very long time that now that you've got it, surprised you? Like, oh, I didn't realize that?

TRUMP:  Well, it started off being a surreal experience.  You know, you wake up and you're in the White House or you're walking through the front door and it's the White House and all of that.  But you do get over that. 

I think the one thing that hits me even more than anything else is the magnitude of everything.  The numbers are so big.  You buy an airplane, but here you're buying 3,500 airplanes.  

TRUMP: The size of the numbers are really staggering.  And every...

DOOCY:   And what about the people...who are counting on you all across the country? And around the world?

TRUMP:  Well the love is great.  And I saw a poll where I was at 45 or 46 percent, but one of the things they said is that the level of enthusiasm for me is as strong as they've ever seen.  In other words, that's a real group of people.

DOOCY:   Right.


TRUMP:  You know, you have other people, they have a poll, but if they sneeze in the wrong direction, everybody disappears.


KILMEADE:   But the protesters are also there.  And they're -- and they have not subsided.  That -- what's your reaction?

TRUMP:  Well, they are there and many of them are the ones that lost the election.

Now, with all of that being said, I'm going to try and bring people together.  And the way you do that is through success.  When I create jobs, when I create a health care plan that works, as opposed to ObamaCare, which doesn't work, when we do the kinds of things -- when we get rid of a lot of bad players, really bad players that we're doing right now on the border...

KILMEADE:   Right.

TRUMP:  -- people are loving what General Kelly is doing, I will tell you.  I think that will change.  But a lot of the people that are protesting are the people that lost the election.

DOOCY:   True.

KILMEADE:   You have 600 open jobs, though, that you can appoint. What's going on...


TRUMP:  Well, a lot of those jobs, I don't want to appoint, because they're unnecessary to have.  You know, we have so many people in government, even me, I look at some of the jobs and it's people over people over people.

I say what do all these people do?

You don't need all those jobs.  Now, there's a...

KILMEADE:   So you're cut -- you're cutting...

TRUMP:  Oh, we're cutting...

KILMEADE:   Those slots are not going to be there?

TRUMP:  You know, it's funny, I -- that's what I mean about messaging. If you have (INAUDIBLE)...

KILMEADE:   We had no idea...

TRUMP:  -- if you have people...

KILMEADE:  -- that you didn't want to fill them.

TRUMP:  Oh, many of those jobs I don't want to fill.

KILMEADE:  We didn't know that. 

TRUMP: There are hundreds and hundreds of jobs that are totally unnecessary jobs.

And instead of being credited with that -- bad messaging -- they say oh, you have to fill hundreds of jobs.  

I say isn't that a good thing? That's not a bad thing.  That's a good thing.  We're running a very good, efficient government.  

EARHARDT:  Let's ask you what kind of -- what grade would you give yourself from an A to an F?

TRUMP:  Well, I...

DOOCY:  I think I know what you're going to say.

KILMEADE:   Well, let's hear it.

TRUMP:  I think -- yes, no, I wouldn't do that.  I think in terms of effort, which means something but I give myself an A plus, OK, effort.  But that's, you know, results are more important.

In terms of messaging, I would give myself a C or a C plus.

KILMEADE:   Really?


TRUMP:  In terms of achievement, I think I'd give myself an A.  Because I think I've done great things, but I don't think I have -- I and my people, I don't think we've explained it well enough to the American public.

I think I get an A in terms of what I've actually done, but in terms of messaging, I'd give myself a C or a C plus.

EARHARDT:  All right, what are you going to...


EARHARDT:  -- how are you going to change that then?

TRUMP:  Well, maybe I change it during the speech.

DOOCY:   Oh, that's good.

TRUMP:  Because, you know, frankly, I'm going to be discussing a lot of those things.